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Seed dispersal and seedling emergence in a created and a natural salt marsh on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Southwest Louisiana, U.S.A

Restoration Ecology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00398.x

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Abstract

Early regeneration dynamics related to seed dispersal and seedling emergence can contribute to differences in species composition among a created and a natural salt marsh. The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether aquatic and aerial seed dispersal differed in low and high elevations within a created marsh and a natural marsh and (2) whether seedling emergence was influenced by marsh, the presence of openings in the vegetation, and seed availability along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. Aerial seed traps captured a greater quantity of seeds than aquatic traps. Several factors influenced aquatic and aerial seed dispersal in a created and a natural salt marsh, including distance from the marsh edge, cover of existing vegetation, and water depth. The natural marsh had a high seed density of Spartina alterniflora and Distichlis spicata, the low-elevation created marsh had a high seed density of S. alterniflora, and the high-elevation created marsh had a high seed density of Aster subulatus and Iva frutescens. The presence of adult plants and water depth above the marsh surface influenced seed density. In the natural marsh, openings in vegetation increased seedling emergence for all species, whereas in the low-elevation created marsh, S. alterniflora had higher seedling density under a canopy of vegetation. According to the early regeneration dynamics, the future vegetation in areas of the low-elevation created marsh may become similar to that in the natural marsh. In the high-elevation created marsh, vegetation may be upland fringe habitat dominated by high-elevation marsh shrubs and annual herbaceous species. ?? 2009 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Seed dispersal and seedling emergence in a created and a natural salt marsh on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Southwest Louisiana, U.S.A
Series title:
Restoration Ecology
DOI:
10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00398.x
Volume
17
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Restoration Ecology
First page:
422
Last page:
432
Number of Pages:
11